Director: Jon Wright
Writer: Kevin Lehane
Stars: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey
Grabbers is a fantastic little production. A very underrated gem that really should be more well known outside of these shores. What I really appreciate from lower budget films is when they know what they can achieve, what they are making, and try not to be something they are not. This film fits that bill perfectly, knowing its limitations and not taking itself overly seriously. More proof that you do not need hundreds of millions to make something enjoyable and professional.
With a budget around a rumoured four million, this is on par with Syfy’s current stuff (which has improved a lot recently), but is altogether better from the acting, score, script and direction. If you’re a budding film-maker, then if the cash is not there, make sure your story is interesting and well acted with likeable characters. Grabbers has this in plenty.
We open up with what appears to be a comet zooming across the sky at night while fishermen on a small fishing rig watch from below. They go to investigate. The next morning, police officer Lisa Nolan (Bradley) is on a ferry to Erin Island. We find out she is actually on a break but requested temporary assignment here as she is a by-the-book workaholic. Meanwhile, local resident (and alcoholic) officer Ciarán O’Shea (British TV regular Coyle) is bemoaning his fortunes to his superior that he has to babysit her for a fortnight while said superior is away.
Straight away you know the exchanges between these two are going to be interesting if not rather fun. After picking Lisa up, they are called to the local beach to investigate a peculiarity. Meanwhile local fisherman and lobster catcher Paddy has caught himself a sea monster! He be keeping it in the bath don’t you know.
Naturally, said monster escapes and all holy hell breaks loose on this quiet little island. What should one do when everything goes south? That’s right, head to the pub! Russel Tovey (Being Human) crops up as a rather slightly eccentric scientist and there is a whole host of other assorted crazy characters. Lalor Roddy as Paddy was certainly my favourite, and he really steals every scene he is in. While the Irish do seem to be very stereo-typically presented, everything is rather tongue-in-cheek and accentuated.
One line in particular had me in tears, as one character says to another ‘you really are Irish!’. It’s taken lightly and in good fun and there are many more memorable one-liners and quips littered throughout the script. Some of the dialogue, while sometimes difficult to understand, is witty, tight and doesn’t miss.
From a production point of view the film looks gorgeous. The photography really is something, surely the setting and location helped in that regard. While there is a slight tint to the film, it in no way detracts from the experience. The score is also very well done with some lovely Irish music in there. The acting is well above average and what you might expect from this type of production. Finally the effects.
Both the physical and CGI effects are absolutely top notch given the films budget. Everything looks real enough and the characters react to things believably. The effects for the creature really are good (for its limited screen time). With nods and homages to both Jaws and Aliens, Grabbers is a clever little film which could be likened to a watery Tremors with Shaun of the Dead humor. Definitely well worth your time.
The Sage’s Rating: